Within the Castle, and incorporating parts of its gatehouse, stands Castle House – both of which are Grade 1 listed buildings – when the stiffest regulatory protection is given to a structure.
|Usk River Walk - photo c/o Mike Longridge|
The Usk Valley Walk
The Romans established a Legionary fortress here before relocating it south to Caerleon (historically very interesting).
It is thought that the Normans too ‘left out’ Usk before building a castle in the early 1100s – Monmouth and Abergavenny Castles having been constructed earlier.
Usk Castle is one of the Welsh Marcher castles and was under constant threat of capture by one side or the other ... with many battles being won or lost in the process, including the loss of various Marcher Lords at the time.
|The Garrison Tower from the Inner Ward|
Allegiances and patron’s influences affected the ups and downs of the holders of Usk Castle through the early part of the Middle Ages ... I leave the English-Welsh history buffs to clarify this ...
However Owen Glendower makes an appearance again (see Croft Castle) as he instigated a fierce and long-running, but ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales.
This English castle, built by the Normans, witnessed some turbulent times before passing into the hands of the Royal Duchy of Lancaster in the late 1400s;
|Castle House, Usk - originally|
the gatehouse, now a private
... once stability under the Duchy had been restored, the castle needed no further redevelopment or refortification, and was allowed to gradually decay.
It passed through the English Civil War with only some slighting (destruction); then the castle was eventually redeveloped, and a change of use occurred when it was modified into a house in the 1680s. Today it remains as a private residence.
It is possible to have a fairy tale wedding here – there’s the north tower, the Drum Tower Gazebo – holding very select few guests underneath!, but plenty outside;
|Horse riding in the woods|
.... the Gatehouse, the Tithe Barn (still decorated with old artefacts from its agricultural days) and the Oak Dining Room – panelled in oak rescued from a Jacobean house in Shrewsbury ...
The woods and fields to the east of the castle are all part of the old hunting chase from Medieval days.
Interestingly there’s The Usk Castle Chase Natural Burial Meadow – exactly that – perfect for simple burials in beautiful natural surroundings ...
Different sections of the woods are open for the Hacking Club, motorcycle sports (Enduros – long distance cross-country time trials), Field Archery, Carriage Driving and simulated game shooting ...
|'Fairy' Events - perhaps?|
c/o Usk Castle site
... the avenues and rides, within the woods, are lined with Red Oak or Lime ... making for a really special walk, while there is a circular footpath passing the Usk river on its way round.
The castle has many interesting points such as the dovecot tower, with many participatory events being held during the summer months.
That is U for Usk Castle, Monmouth, Wales - a hidden gem worth visiting despite the substantial ruins ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles.
Bob Scotney’s castle yesterday was Taunton Castle, Somerset
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